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1. After Exploring The Sociological Literature On Death And Dying, Explore And Argue For Or Against One Of The Following Statements: B. Death And Dying Are Subjected To And Defined By The Clinical Gaze

1515 words - 7 pages

1. After exploring the sociological literature on death and dying, explore and argue
for or against one of the following statements:
b. Death and dying are subjected to and defined by the clinical gaze.

Euphemism and grandiloquence are core mechanisms employed in the theoretical and authoritative discourses surrounding the issues and definitions of death, as seen with the propositions put forward by the British Medical Association (BMA 2003). The BMA’s ideas allude to a suggestion that death could be redefined and that ‘Elective Ventilation’ (a prohibited medical procedure on the outer frontiers of legality and morality) might become a ‘new’ status of the dead and dying. Other ...view middle of the document...

Death was once considered finite, the ultimate restriction, but with biomedical advancements however it is now possible to have a living body, but be termed clinically dead. The definition of death prior to the era of modernity had always been contained within the bastion of church and religion. This hypothesis is in accordance with Foucault’s theories of power. Foucault saw history as a struggle of discourses which makes possible modes of interpretation, but does not make their acceptance any more legitimate or authoritative than those which went previously (Turner 1993:131). Since the enlightenment there has been a secular erosion of religious knowledge and the meaning of death and dying has embraced fluidity like never before. Innovative uses of vocabulary, terminology and discourse to depict illness ,the body and it’s condition has had the effect of estranging many within society, simultaneously enabling the medical fraternity a position of supreme authority. Elective ventilation is a paradigm of that hypothesis. If the all powerful ‘medical gaze’ and ‘watchful eye’ of supervision, of which Foucault talks of, is sanctioned to reclassify death, then there is a clear demonstration that the boundaries of our understanding of mortality has been broadened. In order for the clinical gaze to become effectual with regards to this issue the doctor needs to develop a political consciousness (Foucault 1973:12-13) and crucially attain governmental legitimacy, it is at this point that it is possible to see how the “ fight back against disease must begin with a war against bad government." “Man will be totally and definitively cured only if he is first liberated...” (Foucault1973:38). In this instance man’s liberation comes in the plentiful supply of replacement organs which must be regulated and commodified, whilst being sustained within a supernatural state of existence; that being elective ventilation which plays into a modern myth of immortality (Foucault1973:38).
Elective ventilation has enabled societies capacity to become emotionally uncoupled to both the living and the dead body and has subsequently altered our moral perceptive, it is viable to consider these issues through the Foucauldian Ethics of Death; “A human being turns him, or herself into a subject” (Prado 2003, Foucault, et. al. 1983: 208–209). Ethics are how we “transform” and “modify” ourselves “to attain a certain state of perfection” (Foucault 1997 : 175-184). As the body takes on the role of a commodity, even Foucault may have scarcely imagined to what extent mind body dualism may have taken, biopolitical utilization has undermined the connection society traditionally enjoyed with the body and mind “the self’s relationship to itself” (Prado 2003, Davidson:1986: 221). Foucault created the idiom “Medical Gaze “to extenuate the dehumanizing medical division of the patient's body from the patient's self or sense of identity. Although less popular with modern academic...

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